Thursday, September 30, 2004

Friends, Ambulance, and such.

UPDATED my CONTACT INFO, FREEZEFRAME, and pic of my GIRLS in DEDICATION.

I'll try to be brief. Really. Since it's been forever since I've posted, a million things and yet nothing has happened.

Re: my friend situation. Remember that friend, Will? Well, scratch him off the list. He just left Japan a few days ago... for really NO reason. Like, he called in to work that there was an 'emergency' and that he had to go home. No goodbye, nothing. So... yes.

The AU girl hasn't contacted me much more than to say thanks for the nuts I gave her. Perhaps her saying she wanted to get together was the Japaneseyness again... and this time, I couldn't see it. Maybe she's busy? Maybe she just really doesn't want to study English or hang out with a foreigner whose Japanese kinda sucks.

On a positive note, I did go out to dinner last week... was it already so long ago... mebbe almost 2 weeks ago with this girl Chiharu and her fiancee, Tomonari [I think it's Tomonari.] I met them that crazy night with the shitty karaoke... and she contacted me and said that we should get together for dinner. She doesnt really speak any English, so we rely on my Japanese. Always a funny thing. I [and Yoshi, if he comes up] am invited to their wedding which is apparently in August of next year. We've exchanged a few emails since then... but she works as a financial planner and her company's been very busy lately so we haven't gotten together since that one dinner out. She and her bf are very sweet... and very traditional in a lot of ways. Tomonari bowed down low at dinner and ask that I become good friends with them and while Chiharu was away in the potty, he was saying about how special she is and how much he loves her. A little unJapanese but very sweet. I hope I actually do become closer friends with them.

[As a side note, someone is speaking in really loud FRENCH in the cubicle next to me. Really odd.]

I rode in an ambulance a few days ago. ONe of the new NOVA teachers, Henry, from New York, sprained his ankle and waited until the hospitals had closed for the night before he decided that he wanted to go do something about the bloody thing. We called an ambulance... they're free in Japan. And I went along as translator. Was quite interesting really.

OTherwise, I've really done nothing. Go to work everyday. I bought a ricecooker today at a 2nd hand store. Bargained them down from 4800 yen to 3500 yen. The stupid thing WOULD have cost me 12600 yen or so if I had bought it new... so twas quite the deal. I also got my money back for the fridge, stove, and washing machine that I bought at that store. I've since met up with a girl named Theresa who is moving out of her place [which happens to be the place right below my new one] who wanted to sell her shit for cheap. Bought her out, pretty much. I may try to bargain her down a bit, though.

Once I move into my new place, I'll post pictures up. But! For now, people have been asking about my cell phone. Here's a picture of that, and a few pictures of me... just me... since I still really dont have any friends. Whine whine whine, I know. Talk to you all soon....

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Having friends?

So, I think I have a friend. Maybe three or so, really.

One. Will. He works with me at Nova at Al Plaza Kanazawa. We currently live in the same building. He's the dood I went with to Coco Ichibanya not too long ago-- the night with the fucked up karaoke, really. Last night, he dropped by and we went walking through the Samurai district... bats are really neat animals... and there are tons of them in Kanazawa. Anyway, we then had some chips and salsa at CJ's.. this Mexican restaurant/bar thing that is apparently owned by this 22 year old American kid named Chris. Then we went to karaoke. Twas my first fruitful karaoke experience in Japan since AKP... of course... that could be because there were only two of us. So... anyway, he's a friend.

Two. John Yoshioka. *waves* He and his friend, Mike Manzano [friend number 3] live and work for NOVA in Yamato-yagi. They're really the only ones I talked to at length at orientation in Osaka. They've oh so kindly been sending me emails and giving me a call. Isn't that precious?

Today, I made a special effort to see that AU girl I mentioned a few posts earlier... the girl who sold me the phone? Anyway, I gave her some macadamia nuts and we exchanged numbers. She said she still wants to learn English... so maybe we can get together sometime and do the language exchange thing. Wow... does that mean I *might* have a Japanese friend? Imagine that.

But still, at a very very optimistic level, I only have 4 friends... none of whom I would consider GOOD friends.

Granted, I have Dave lurking around Osaka and Tamanegi-chan running amok in Iwate... but they're so far away. And really, I'm soooo lonely. Geez, all I do is whine, huh?

Sorry for that. At least I'm trying to make the best of my current situation. And hey, at least I let you all know everything that's going through my mind.

Anyway, I guses I have nothing more of import to write... Not that THAT was all that important. Oh well... y'all have my contact info. Contact me.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Yakitori and Needing More-y

Went out to yakitori for dinner tonight. It was a bit of a welcome dinner with my coworkers. Of course, I somehow managed to talk only to the Japanese coworkers... the ones who spoke English were having their own conversation... drinking and smoking and talking about... something?

Apparently, the students of various levels have been praising me highly. That's nice. Of course, it'd be nice if I weren't working for Nova and instead were doing what I actually want to do here. Media. I talked to my Japanese coworkers about it and they think I can do it... I just have to start with small connections and work my way up. Sounds good. I want to settle into my new place first, anyway, before I do anything else.

And what I mean about needing More-y... I mean love... from y'all. A letter or something. Comments. Emails. Phone calls. Those of you who have been trying [hey Michael from Office Depot in Hawaii... I *have* been getting yoru messages/calls... but I've been at work when they came through]... you have no idea how much I appreciate it. Seriously. And still, I'm needy. Anyone willing to send me more love?

Love always, me.

Moved and Moving. Finding Peace.

Moved yesterday to that new address. The place isn't bad. It's much larger than our old place and I get to have the tatami room this time. Granted, the room is small and lacks privacy... but I figure I'll only be there for less than a month, so I can deal.

On Monday morning, I went over to Kinki Homes and asked them to show me some apartments. I looked at a total of 4. The first one, I figured I'd be interested in because it was near the Saigawa [river]... And near it, it was. It was also painfully small, near the huge construction, and not in the best condition. It was a let down, really. I asked the man if he could show me more apartments and he informed me that most of the places that are open to foreigners have already been taken... he found a few other places and... I finally found my place.

It's small... but it's perfect for me. It's on the roof of a small 4 story building... 2 tatami rooms, a kitchen, a bath room, the entire rest of the roof top as my balcony and a neat view. But more than anything... it felt right. I was standing on the balcony/roof... and I asked myself... is this the right thing to do... to be by myself... to go through the trouble and money of getting my own place... is *this* the right place...

And that's when the butterfly came. A kind of butterfly I'd never seen before. It was beautiful... and it danced around my head.

A coincidence, you might say. Hell, that's what I said... and minutes later... I questioned yet again whether this was the right thing to do. And yet another butterfly came. A different one. Yet another kind that I'd never seen before...

And this butterfly also danced around my head.

And a breeze blew. And I felt a small amount of peace in my heart that I hadn't yet felt since I've been here.

I move into my new place on October 7. I've already put in notice to Nova. I pay first deposit today [Thursday] and must pay the rest of my overly expensive deposit by the end of the month. I'll be paying 38000 yen a month. For my own little bit of peace. The address??

Monchalee Steiger
Hikoso Cherry Heights #401
Hikosomachi 1-9-3
Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa-ken
920-0901 JAPAN

920-0901 JAPAN
石川県金沢市彦三町1-9-3
彦三チェリーハイツ401号
モンチャリー・スタイガー様

Antisocial

Ok... so I believe this will be a several part blog since I'm dividing it into experiences.

I had another really frustrating homesick experience this past weekend. When was it... Saturday or Sunday night? I believe it was Sunday. Basically, I decided to stop being antisocial and try my hand at making friends with the other Nova teachers. [BTW, apparently the correct notation for Nova teacher is TUTOR... but that's another issue all together.] Anyway... tried to make friends.

It starts by going to this couple's house: Summer and Blair. Aussies. Who drink. And all their friends drink. Which is ok.. even though I don't drink much, I'm generally not bothered by others'imbibing the stuff. Anyway, I sat... very quietly... having pretty much nothing to say and not much interest in the topics of choice. I believe I ended up punching out emails to Tekki on me cell phone the entire time.

Then, we headed over to the local gaijin bar... APRE. It was this kid, Dave's going away thing. On the way there, I walked but the majority of others had their bikes on them. [I didn't since Will... another Nova guy... and I had decided to walk to Curry House Ichibanya for dinner.] They, quite annoyingly and in good, stupid gaijin fashion, made quite the ruckus ringing their stupid bells and honking their bike horns for no reason while riding through both residential and commercial areas of Kanazawa... on a SUNDAY NIGHT. It must have been 10 pm or later by then. I was so embarrassed... all the Japanese people looking at me like "Can't you control your stupid gaijin friends?!" No... I can't. They aren't my friends.

Aaaanyway, we go to APRE. The gaijin bar. Everyone is there. I end up making better and more meaningful conversation with the handful of Japanese girls there, several of whom are Nova staff. I spoke in Japanese of course. And I had a few crappy drinks, since if I HAVE to pay 600 yen for a drink, I may as well get some alcohol in there. It did nothing for me of course, while the Nova kids just got rowdier and stupider. I really tried to make conversation... getting to know you kind of stuff... but... it wasn't working.

Then it starts getting bad. They want to sing karaoke but the bar is closing down. The bar owner let's us have the karaoke room upstairs for an hour and already I can see that this is going to be a problem. One person hogged the mike and refused to actually sing, but instead spoke REALLY FUCKING LOUDLY into the mike and made lame jokes. And then, Kieran, that guy from before for whom I was acting as translator, started cancelling songs he didn't like so that his songs would come on. Blah blah. I left the room and did a bit more of chitchatting with the Japanese girls.

THEN it starts getting poopy. They decide they're in the mood for karaoke. I'm down with that. We head over to the local Shidax... the drunken gaijin whoopin' it up on their bikes as they ring and honk through downtown Kanazawa. We get to Shidax... all 20 of us or whatever and we take literally an hour to decide whether we even WANT to go karaoke. The entire time, of course, the drunken idiots make a huge scene in the lobby area... trying to juggle the moraccas and throwing the tambourines. The Japanese girls are trying to reason with the Shidax karaoke staff... we decide 2 rooms would be best. One for people who want to sing. The other for people who want to drink.

We get upstairs. The crazies start fucking MOVING THE FURNITURE from one room to the other so that everyone can fit in the one room. THEN more alcohol comes. I drink nothing. Not even water. THEN they all start arguing and yelling about "how the fuck do you input the song" blah blah.. completely disregarding those of us who are actually trying to EXPLAIN how you do it. And of course when people finally get the songs in, others fuck it up... by talking into the mike over it... by fucking with the key.... by screwing up the tempo over and over.. by cancelling the song all together.. all the while, accusing others of doing it... And those others, getting the heat of everyone's drunken anger because they're to plastered to know the difference.

Needless to say, I left with our time was up... though most of the people stayed. One of the Japanese girls and I left... complaining how it sucked and how not worth it the experience was. And more importantly, the fact that they demanded that we spend 2000 yen for that shit.

It was really so frustrating. What happened to people who had respect for each other? For other cultures? Who, even in their shitfacedness could still be normal human beings with at least a vague regard for others? Where are my AKPers? Where is the group that karaokes with me in Hawaii... who doesn't need any alcohol to have fun... why am I the only normal, NOT immature person... btw, I was the very youngest one there in that crowd.

I cried my eyes out when I got home. No wonder I chose to be antisocial.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

First Day of Work and Moving Out

So today was my first true day of work. It was rough stuff. Taught 7 lessons. Tis usually 8. Somehow, I cant manage to wing my lessons so I have to take the time to write it all out. Bugger. It takes FOREVER to plan that way. I cant effectively plan 8 lessons. Today, I had to skip lunch to get my planning done. Well, that's not entirely true... I *did* have a juice box from the vending machine. Oh yah... apple juice... the lunch of champions and the very stressed beginning teacher named Monchalee at NOVA.

Another thing... they may seem silly so some of you... but I've decided to look into get an apartment of my own. In the long run, it'll allow me to save money... let me have privacy, and save me the crap of finding out yet again that I'm a hard person to live with. Of course, I need friends at some point, else I'll have more privacy than I could ever hope for. Beyond that, I think it's a good idea to move out... in case I decide that Nova's not for me, but Japan *is*... If I ever decide to leave NOVA, I won't be at a loss for housing.

I went in today to an apartment finding service. I found a place that costs 38000 yen or so a month... which is really like $350 or so. Granted I need to pay the key fee and month or two advance but that's still almost cheaper than the apartment NOVA gave me considering that this first apartment is 61000 yen/month and my new apartment that I move into on TUESDAY is 58000 yen/month. Granted, it's furnished... but I can dress up a personal apartment fairly nicely with some of the money that I save. I'm going on Monday morning, before work, to check the place out. Then I have to give 30 days notice to NOVA that I'll be heading outward. I wonder if Yvette, the roommate, will be unhappy about this? We'll see.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Things I forgot to Mention

Things I forgot to mention... and then some.

First, the hotel at which I took all the pictures... the rug was laid... in TILES! Squares of rug were laid side by side to create the floor... weird.

Second, I keep messing up on my cell PHONE number... from America

011-81-90-3763-4051

From Japan, and I know SOME of you want to call me...

090-3763-4051

My address on my cell phone is chou-genki@ezweb.ne.jp

My HOME address is

Monchalee Steiger
Plaza Shinkai Hosai #401
2-16-20 Hosai
Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa-ken
920-0862 JAPAN

In Japanese...

日本 920-0862
石川県金沢市芳斎2-16-20
プラザ信開芳斎401号
モンチャリー・スタイガー様へ

Anyway,other than that, I've pretty much been utterly lonely. i went out today with my ONE American friend, Kieran [from New York city] to Karaoke and introduced him to the loves of Karaoke and Nomihoudai. Thankfully he paid for it. And now I'm here at 5 am, Japan time, writing this memo to you.

I've been having my training at NOVA for the past 3 days. It finished today and from saturday on, I will be "officially" a Nova instructor. Isn't that scary? Anyway, for the most part it has been ok. I've had a few dud classes... people not willing to participate or giving them more and more information that somehow, they can't understand. Although Teaching can be rewarding... it really, it's not what I
want. Hopefully, I can move to Osaka or make the connections I want so that I may move elsewhere.

If you have any connections or suggestions, let me know. Otherwise, just give me an email or a call or something. I'm really lonely...

To tell you all a minor secret... I didnt know exactly how lonely I was until last night [well, 2 nights ago... ]I've been reading my 4th installment of the Ender's Game series by Orson Scott Card. It's called CHILDREN OF THE MIND... and basically, the other night... while reading... I managed to bawl my eyes out for HOURS! This is what caused those lonely, self-pitying tears... [truncated]

”Will the kind of love I have for you be enough? To reach out to you when I'm in need, and to try to be here for you when you need me back. ANd to feel such tenderness when I look at you that I want to stand between you and all the world: and yet also to lift you up and carry you above the strong currents of life; and at the same time, I would always be glad to stand always like this, at a distance, watching you, the beauty of you, your energy..."

Maybe some of you will understand this. Maybe some of you won't. I guess the overall message is that I'm lonely. Someone be my friend?

Thanks.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Missed luggage and Nose Hair

So, I hurried home last night to see if I'd missed my luggage dropoff. Of course, I did. I called kuronekoyamato and asked that they come back... but of course it was 10 til 9 pm and the driver gets off at 9 pm... so I'd have to wait until this morning... which is fine except that "morning" is anytime between 9 am and noon.

Hmph. Well... at least I have my stuff, now. I only unpacked one of my two suitcases since we'll be moving out in literally a week. Why, you ask? Because the landlord doesn't want to deal with foreigners anymore. DISCRIMINATION! you might say. No... not in Japan.

Regarding my phone: For those of you who want to call from America...

011-81-90-3763-4051

We are 19 hours ahead of Hawaii... which is more along the lines of 5 hours behind, but a day ahead. I.e. if it is 10 pm on Saturday night in Hawaii.... it is 5 pm on Sunday evening in Japan. Please call or email. It's lonely.

Re: my roommate. Well, she's Australian. She's currently on the South Beach diet. She likes Vegemite... and as I mentioned before, she has the bigger, Japanese style room. She came up here, originally, with a college friend of hers named Angie. They were roommates and Angie didn't like teaching so she left and is currently in Greece. She talks about Angie all the time. The apartment is decorated with all her things.

Apparently, Angie plans to come back at the end of September... so I may have to move out, she says. Ok... I may also look into just getting a super cheap apartment of my own. It may be a better idea. Beyond that, Yvette [the roomy] also mentioned that *she* doesn't really enjoy teaching... and that *she* may be planning to move out eventually... Sooner that I would leave NOVA, obviously. Maybe that means I'll get the bigger room from the get-go in the new apartment.

Tomorrow morning, I start orientation. For 6 hours... and they want me to go all the way back to Osaka... which is 2.5 hours away, one way, on the Express train. Shit. I have a feeling they're going to keep sending me back there. Well, I guess as long as they pay for my ticket, that's all that matters.

Anyway, I said before that I'd insert some pics for y'all to have fun with. Here's the place.



Me @ Dotonbori Hotel, Osaka

After my toilet and I had been "SANITARIZED"

Please close the bathroom door when you shower as the steam will otherwise set off the fire alarm.


I got to sleep on a "Tempur" pillow... which astronauts use in the space shuttles.


And finally!!... Beware of NOSEHAIR!!!

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Contact and No Friends

Hello, all. I'm @an internet cafe...

Here's what information I can give you. I just bought a cell phone... got the cheapest one again. It's like the new and improved version of my old phone... it was free this time instead of 1 yen. It's super cool... gotta start customizing it. ^^

The phone number here is:

090-3763-4051

I chose the last 4 digits of the number. They spell out *YOSHI* or well... YOSI which is the other way to spell Yoshi. So... it's 3763YOSI ... bwajhahahaha...

IT was really difficult to decide which phone to get... and in the end I went for the one with the best sound and screen... although the one that you could watch tv and full length movies and live gps and listen the radio was really cool. It wasn't free though. And my plan is really pricey. I may have to reduce it later.

The email to the phone is chou-genki@ezweb.ne.jp I believe it's the same as before.

My roommate is ok I guess. She took the Japanese room which is the slightly bigger room and she has her own way of doing things.

You know what sucks? Apparently, we're being forced to move out of the apartment in less than 2 weeks. Soooo... that's evil. And crappy. I haven't even worked a day and already we have to move. Maybe this time I'll get the bigger room.

I don't have any friends yet, really. I think I may have made friends with the lady who sold me the phone. I told her that when I find out my schedule at NOVA that I'd let her know. She wants to learn English so she can help the customers who cant speak Japanese. I told her I'd teach her free of charge if she helped me with my Japanese. Worth it, yes? To have a friend... I dont know her first name, but her last name is Takada.

I start orientation on Monday. All the way 2.5 hours away in Osaka. How stupid is that? Until then, I've been touring around here on my own. Losing weight already! I really wish you were here.

I guess I should going before the police take my bike away. I left it by McDonalds which is like a few blocks away from here.

Anyway, oh shit! I just realized that they're supposed to drop off my luggage right now... FUCK... ok, I was gonna type more... but I guess not... bye all.


Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Arrival

So I've arrived in Japan. No one was here to meet me. I asked around and finally found someone from my company-- they said they didn't know I was coming today. They're the ones who arranged my ticket! How stupid.

They said that my info packet isn't here and that no one is expected to meet me until about 8 pm. It is currently almost 7. It was 6 pm w hen I arrived.

So... I'm sitting at a dollar for every 10 minutes of internet terminal... hoping that I'm typing fast enough.

I don't have a contact number yet, obviously... Hell, I don't even know if I have enough clothes to last me until I get to my apartment. Apparently, I won't be there until Saturday. It's Thursday here. I figured I'd arrive at my flat tomorrow-- but so far, all has gone wrong.

Sucks!

Anyway, that's it.

Wish me luck and well, leave comments, I suppose.